February 26, 2016 / 11:46 AM / 2 years ago

All relevant groups in Syria ready to comply with ceasefire: Putin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - All parties expected to take part in a cessation of hostilities in Syria have said they are ready to do so, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, warning the peace process would be difficult nonetheless.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a statement from his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko after a session of the Supreme State Council of Russia-Belarus Union State in Minsk, Belarus, February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin

The “cessation of hostilities,” brokered by the United States and Russia, is due to take effect at midnight (2200 GMT on Friday).

“Today by midday Damascus time all warring sides in Syria had to confirm to us or to our American partners their agreement to adhere to a ceasefire,” Putin told a meeting of the FSB security service in Moscow.

“That information has already reached us,” he said, adding that from Feb. 27, Syrian government forces, Russia and the U.S.-led coalition would not strike any armed groups which had signed up.

Putin stressed that combat actions against Islamic State, the Nusra Front and other groups would continue.

“I would like to express the hope that our American partners will also bear this in mind ... and that nobody will forget that there are other terrorist organizations apart from Islamic State,” he said.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution to endorse the planned halt in hostilities later on Friday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday he expected the U.N. Security Council to back the resolution, but cautioned that nobody could give a 100 percent guarantee that the ceasefire plan would be implemented.

He warned Washington against coming up with alternative ideas for Syria.

“Within the U.S.-led coalition there should no ambiguous talk about any ‘Plan B’, about a ground operation being planned, or about the creation of some buffer no-fly zones, which have long been recognized as absolutely unacceptable,” Lavrov told a news briefing.

Additional reporting by Jack Stubbs/Jason Bush; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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